Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Adventures in the book trade #2

Laurence Fearnley, one of my favourite novelists, is on tour to Wellington and Palmerston North. I’m not sure of the format but both evenings involve her giving a reading and the audience hoovering up “drinks and nibbles”. Laurence lives in Dunedin so is rarely sighted in the North Island – she is the real deal so don’t miss her if you can get to either event.

Of her eight novels, the second, Room, was shortlisted for the Montana NZ Book Awards in 2001 and Edwin and Matilda, the sixth, was runner-up in the 2008 Montana Book Awards. The eighth, The Hut Builder, won the fiction category at the 2011 NZ Post Book Awards. No prizes for the third, Delphine’s Run, or the fourth, Butler’s Ringlet, but they are both astonishingly good. As with Lloyd Jones, each novel is quite unlike its predecessors – you never know what to expect, other than something wonderful.

The Wellington event is on Thursday 13 September at 6pm in the Theatre Laboratory (Wallace Street, Entrance A) of Massey University. The Palmerston North event is at 6.30pm on Friday 14 September at Palmerston North City Library.

Next week, on  Thursday 6 September, the Copyright Licensing awards will be announced. Two writers, chosen from 72 applicants, will each receive $35,000 for a non-fiction project.
The five finalists for 2012 are:
David  Veart: Hello Boys and Girls
Geoff  Chapple: Terrain: North Island
Hazel Petrie:  Into the Darkness
Michael  Corballis: The Wandering Mind
Vincent O’Malley: The Waikato War 1863-64

The awards are funded by CLNZ’s Culture Fund. Two research grants of $3500 will also be awarded: the winners have already been announced and are Kelly Ana Morey for a literary novella about Phar Lap and David McGill for a biographical exploration of his great-grandfather who became the mayor of Auckland.

CLNZ says that last year’s winners of the $35,000 awards are well underway with their projects. Malcolm McKinnon reports that his The 1930s Depression in New Zealand is progressing as planned and should be published sometime in 2013. Melissa Williams’ Te Rarawa in the City: Maori urban migrations from North Hokianga to Auckland, 1930-1970 is “going very well” , she says, though “community consultation has been a little more time consuming than I expected”. No surprise there.

Since the first award winners were announced in 2001, nine books have been published and three more are well on the way, among them Steve Braunias’s New Zealand: The Biography which is due in bookshops any day now. Let’s hope his novel follows soon after.